Nissan has announced plans to launch multiple Autonomous Drive vehicles by 2020.

The company declined to say which models will get the technology first but promised the cars will have "realistic prices." Within two vehicle generations, Nissan hopes to offer Autonomous Drive technology across the model range.

To handle daily driver duties, the cars will be equipped with laser scanners, Around View Monitor cameras, actuators and "advanced artificial intelligence." Besides the obvious technical challenges, Nissan says autonomous cars will place new demands on the chassis and traction control system as machines can make faster and more complex movements than humans.

To get the models into production as soon as possible, Nissan is creating an autonomous driving proving ground in Japan. It will feature real townscapes that promise to "push vehicle testing beyond the limits possible on public roads to ensure the technology is safe." If everything goes according to plan, the proving ground will be completed by the end of next year.

According to Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn, "Nissan Motor Company's willingness to question conventional thinking and to drive progress – is what sets us apart." He added, "In 2007, I pledged that – by 2010 – Nissan would mass market a zero-emission vehicle. Today, the Nissan LEAF is the best-selling electric vehicle in history. Now I am committing to be ready to introduce a new ground-breaking technology, Autonomous Drive, by 2020, and we are on track to realize it."

Gallery: Nissan to launch multiple autonomous vehicles by 2020

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